It’s always difficult to build up a new network of friends when you’ve moved to a new city. Now imagine yourself sitting around every Monday evening, laughing and speaking English with dozens of friends. Well, that’s the warm and welcoming experience you’ll feel if you check out the Zurich Comedy Club (ZCC). Founded in 1954, the ZCC was created to bring English-speaking theater lovers the opportunity to express their enthusiasm for the stage.
ZuriGirl got an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour during their latest production of An Ideal Husband and got the scoop on what it’s like to join the club from the President Ray Bär, Press Officer Ana Alvarez Requejo, and many of the cast and crew.
Zuri Girl: Who Can Join The ZCC?
ZCC: The only requirement for joining the club is that you speak English well – which means you already meet the requirements (and English does not have to be your native tongue)! Most of the people who attend the meetings are expats, ranging from America to England to Argentina to Zimbabwe, though Swiss folks join as well. All adults are welcome, no matter what background, age, race, profession or theatre experience. There are currently 120 members but they’re always welcoming more.
Zuri Girl: Is the ZCC the Right Fit For Me?
ZCC: The club creates a safe environment where everyone feels welcome and comfortable. Even if it’s your first time, you’ll find everyone here is happy to meet and greet a new face. Friendships (and even marriages!) have been formed through membership in the club. If you’re interested in theatre, it is a natural fit. Some members have been a part of the club for over 50 years.
Zuri Girl: I Have Stage Fright – Do I Need To Be Scared Of Getting Involved?
ZCC: You don’t have to let stage fright get in the way – many of the members choose never to go in front of the crowd. You can stay actively involved with jobs that are more behind the scenes, like Ana Alvarez Requejo did while serving as stage manager for the ZCC’s May production of An Ideal Husband. Ana directed the actors and cued the lights and sound without ever being seen by the audience. Other behind-the-scenes positions include sound crew, lighting crew, costumes, hair & make-up, prompters, concession stands, box office, greeters and ushers as well as set design, construction, sales promotion, program and flyer design, and show photography.
Zuri Girl: This Sounds Interesting – How Do I Get Involved?
ZCC: There are two ways to get involved. First, the ZCC holds regular Monday night meetings where they have practice readings of plays that they’d like to consider for full production. These Monday night meetings are probably the best place to start for a newbie because you can mostly just observe if you’re a little nervous at first. At the end of the evening, all participants discuss their thoughts or concerns about putting on the play as a main production and ultimately decide whether or not to keep it in the running.
But if you’re up for a little challenge, then join the Club as they hold their monthly Improv sessions (on certain designated Thursdays) to help members hone their acting skills through games and exercises. These workshop-like nights have a designated format but are totally unscripted and allow for some hilarious and spontaneous moments. From these Improv sessions, the ZCC also has an improvisational troupe called the IMPROVables who perform in front of live audiences separately from the two main play productions.
Zuri Girl: Who Should I Contact?
ZCC: You can visit the ZCC website or Facebook page for detailed information, photos, and behind-the-scenes glimpses. If you want to see their upcoming schedule for Monday Night Meetings, you can check it out here. Or, if you have more specific questions, you can email them directly at email@example.com.
Contributed by Zuri Girl: Lisa Christen. Lisa’s blog The Real Housewife of Zurich chronicles her mishaps and sarcasm as she transitions from being an American career-woman to a Swiss Hausfrau in Zurich. She often embarrasses her husband in her posts, so enjoy!